Thursday, January 6, 2022

Senior communist leader slain in South

DAVAO CITY – Government troops killed a senior communist rebel leader in a firefight ending his reign of terror and violent campaign in the southern Philippines, officials announced on Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade, said the 69-year old Menandro Villanueva, the longest-serving Secretary of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, was slain late Wednesday in the village of Libudon in Dala de Oro’s Mabini town.

There was no report of military casualties.


Durante said civilian intelligence led soldiers in the village and caught up with the armed band of Villanueva and fighting ensued between the two groups and killing the rebel leader who was also a senior member of the politburo of the Communist Party of the Philippines and commander of the New People’s Army National Operations Command.


Durante, quoting a military report, said Villanueva, whose nom de guerre was Bok, died instantly after being hit in several parts of his body. “Troops are still conducting pursuit operations to the fleeing CNTs,” he said, referring to the communist rebels. 


He lauded security forces in killing Villanueva, who was on top of the military’s order of battle, saying “the prompt and deliberate actions of the soldiers further contributed to the peace efforts of the whole Davao region.”

A military dossier on Villanueva said he and Edgard Jopson founded the New People’s Army in Mindanao in the 1970s. He was also an activist and member of the Kabataang Makabayan during his college years at the Ateneo de Manila. Villanueva went underground when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 23, 1972 and he supervised the operations of the rebel forces in Mindanao and directly controlled its operations and violent campaign in the South for 51 years.


“The 51 years reign of terror of Menandro Villanueva is finally over.  His victims were finally given justice. Bok had several warrants of arrests to include multiple murders, double frustrated murders, arson, robbery with intimidation, rebellion, among others,” Durante said as he urged rebels to surrender peacefully. “Surrender now while you still can. Don’t wait to suffer the same fate as Menandro Villanueva. The government is always willing to accept you if you decide to return to the folds of the law.”


Last December 24, government soldiers also killed Anna Sandra Reyes, the Secretary of Regional White Area Committee under Villanueva, in a clash in Davao de Oro’s Mawab town.


Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres, chief of the 10th Infantry Division, branded as “colossal” the killing of Villanueva and Reyes. “The death of the two top personalities of the Central Committee of the CPP-NPA is a colossal blow that makes its downfall irreversible,” he said.


The rebels have been fighting for many decades now to overthrow the democratic government and install a communist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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